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How can I show affection without seeming clingy or needy?

Tagged as: Dating, Faded love, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (9 July 2010) 4 Answers - (Newest, 3 August 2010)
A female United States age 26-29, *akapo017 writes:

Me and my boyfriend have been dating for 5 years. Things have been very good in our relationship up until recently. About two weeks ago we had a discussion. He said that he felt as if I didn't love him anymore and that he had felt that way for a few months... he had been acting sad for that amount of time as well. He specified that it was last October when he noticed that I had been acting sad. I must admit that he is right because me and my mother moved to an apartment. The place is very dark and always has problems plus my mother let her new boyfriend move in. Her boyfriend is verbally abusive and quite possibly cheating on my mother. She is acting as if I don't exist and has caused all of her friends and family to stop talking to her. Many are my friends as well, but it is hard to talk to them when things are so broken. Moving out is not an option for me right now. Well I became very depressed and have been for quite some time. If it matters, I have been on birth control for two years and stopped it for one month before I started it again,in the fall. I think it may be causing me to be more sensitive to depression. Anyway, because I was depressed I closed myself off and I realized I was hurting my boyfriend after we talked. I told him a few days after the discussion, about these things and that I would change for him. He agreed that we would work through it together and that he was willing to change things for me too, but I am not sure how to change for the better. I can be bossy since I have little control in my life,but I am learning to recognize when I am doing it to stop.I sometimes can be very clingy as well because I really have no one else,but I want to be strong for him and still show my love for him without over doing it. At the same time I don't want to bottle myself up again, but I am not sure how to talk to him about my problems without sounding like I am whining all the time. I would prefer a guy respond to this question since I want to make my boy freind happy, but women are welcome to give me coping advice. So I want to know how I could show my boyfriend affection without over doing it(and seeming clingy), make him feel loved and not come off as complaining all the time. I want to know little things I could do to show him I care and help us recover from this happier and stronger than before.

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A female reader, Kakapo017 United States +, writes (3 August 2010):

Kakapo017 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Kakapo017 agony auntThank you sooo much. Your advice plus plenty of others from friends and family have really helped. I like to be informed myself so I will update this until my relationships are healed. First off I really appreciate the comment that I seem like a nice girl :). Well I am moving out with my aunt to help me get more structure in my life. Plus her son is like a little brother to me anyways, and I have always wanted a little brother. But I regret leaving my eleven year old sister with her, we have different dads, but I will tell her, she may want to go live with her father if things at the home are too much for her. That is where she has spent the whole summer. Now as for my boyfriend, I have been reading things such as Men Made Easy by Kara Oh and the tips are simple, but they really do help. Plus I read a therapist interview and the same techniques were there. He seems happy again and he was very responsive to me again. Now things are not how they use to be and I don't expect them to immediately come back, but it is going in the right direction. I have to get out leave my mothers home because I am 19 an can not continue to let her drag me down, I don't hate her, but she was too young to have me and my sis. I will not and can not try to change her, but I can change myself and I think this will help.

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A female reader, LLindy87 United States +, writes (13 July 2010):

LLindy87 agony auntWith your mom situation, I think that will be difficult to fix with her boyfriend in the picture. Perhaps keep things civil with her until her attitude changes.

About being a better girlfriend, I think all you need to do is be there for him as much as he is for you, do nice things for him, show him you care. etc. Make sure he knows how much you love him, you sound like a really nice girl and I'm sure he sees that too, especially that i can tell and its through the internet.

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A female reader, Kakapo017 United States +, writes (13 July 2010):

Kakapo017 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Kakapo017 agony auntLLindy87,

Thank you for your advice. I am trying that since me and my boyfriend and my family members have talked about what you said. I have talked to him, but I think he is scared that this could happen again, because I am a very timid person and care A LOT about other peoples feelings, by not telling him things, I thought it would be better since he couldn't really do anything about the situation, but he began to think other things were going on. I know he feels helpless when I tell him my problems because we are both still very young, only 19 each, and we are both having a hard time establishing ourselves as independant adults. We want to be as independant as possible before we decide to live together. We have learned a lot from each other and after five years I still want to be with him...It is just a little hard because I really don't fully understand how a girlfriend is suppose to treat his boyfriend. I must have been doing something right these past five years,but like I said I want to make it better. I should mention I tend to think like a guy more than a girl in the sense that, I like to do things without help, I hate showing my emotions or crying in front of others and I love to fix, build and repair things. Also I grew up without a father figure and I was not given much affection as a child. Being shy did not help the matter either. I know men can feel loved without much affection, but I crave affection all the time and hence I feel lonely often. He was there for me, as well as my aunt, but my mother would aggressively pester me, demanding to know what is wrong with me. I told her, but I said you cannot help me with this, because she has never had a relationship last for more than a couple years. I am an adult and can handle my relationships on my own. She is a major reason I am having such a difficult time making the transition to adult hood. I know I said I don't ask for help, but anything I need help with she refuses to give me any advice, I don't want her to be holding my hand, but a little guidance would be appreciated. My aunt and my boyfriends mother have given me a lot of advice. Another thing my mothers boyfriend use to be best friends with my dad. He talks to me like I am a good for nothing like my father. I don't know anything about my dad , but my mother just sits there and lets him do it. To me that says that she doesn't think highly of me either. My boyfriend even told me a couple months ago that he doesn't like my mother anymore, she use to be such a nice person, but now he doesn't even think she and I are related. It's a really fustrating situation, but I would kindly appreaciate any advice to help me through this and be the best girlfriend I can be. I certainly know many guys probably would run the other way,but my boyfriend has been here for me. I just want to make our relationship better.

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A female reader, LLindy87 United States +, writes (10 July 2010):

LLindy87 agony auntHey, your situation is pretty hard but I think that if you just sit down with your boyfriend and simply explain all that you pretty much wrote here, be open and honest, you've been with him for five years so therefore I don't think being completely open about why you were so withdrawn before would be over doing it at all. He cares about you and I hope that you get the advice from a guy here that will tell you a better answer.

A lot of times relationships fall apart because one party or both over thinks what the other will feel and they don't talk to each other when it matters.

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